Miami University Equestrian

The progress of Miami University Equestrian

Nationals-Bound: Must be the Mustaches

There must be something in the air here at the Equestrian Center, because representatives from all three disciplines will be riding at Nationals this year. Of course, by ‘something’ I mean hard work, dedication, extra lessons, lots of sweat, and fruit wearing mustaches.

Hunt seat Zones 2014

The hunt seat team traveled to Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio this past weekend to compete at Hunt Seat Zones- the top two teams advance to Nationals in Harrisburg, PA in a few weeks’ time. Riders Charlotte Tate, Allie Drost, Jackie Yeager, Kayla Akers, Dani Ross, Alex Roe, Rachel McConell, Helena Kervinen,  and Kylie Fleming represented the Miami team in an effort to secure the hunt seat bid for Nationals. With about thirty schools in attendance, competition was certainly fierce for the top slots. Miami finished as Reserve Champions of Zone 6, just a hair away from winning the zone.

The RedHawks had some great rides, with Allie Drost and Jackie Yeager both finishing in the blue in the Open. Allie was 1st in the Open Flat for Miami and 2nd on the Open Flat as an individual, which means she will be showing at Nationals as an individual and for the team! Jackie Yeager took 1st in the team Open Fences, 4th in the Open Flat as an individual and 6th Open Fences as an individual.

Jackie Yeager Zones

Charlotte Tate won the Intermediate Flat as an individual, sending her to Harrisburg as the zone champion in that class. Alex Roe finished 1st in the Intermediate Fences and 2nd in the Intermediate Flat for Miami- great job! Kayla Akers and Dani Ross both finished in 3rd place- Kayla in the Novice Flat and Dani in the Individual Walk/Trot/Canter. Rachel McConnell and Helena Kervinen had good rides and finished in 5th- Rachel for the team in Novice Fences and Helena for the team Walk/Trot/Canter. Finishing out the day was Kylie Fleming  in the Walk/Trot, who had a solid ride and took home 4th place.

In the words of Charlotte Tate,  “the 2nd place team, us, and the 3rd place team were really close, 2 point difference, so it all came down to the last class whether we would move on to nationals as a team or not. Alex Roe pulled through on the last class by placing 2nd, confirming our 2nd place spot and the fact that we were moving on to Nationals. The team’s excitement when we realized we were moving on was overwhelming.”

Now, of course there is always a talisman, a magic charm, a foam sword or a lucky fruit that accompanies MUET to a horse show. At Zones, the mustaches were a hit- all team members and coaches Lori and Heather drew mustaches on their hands to bring good luck (and good cheer, for that matter).

Zones Mustaches

The hunt seat team and Charlotte Tate and Allie Drost as individuals as well as Sam Kershner in western  who made it through at Semi-Finals will be heading to Harrisburg for IHSA Nationals. Congratulations to all riders and coaches on a fantastic season.

Zones ribbons 2014

 

Miami Dressage Double Header: Smooth as a Whistle

On March 22nd and 23rd, Miami hosted our home dressage show, which happens every spring semester. Usually by this time the birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming, the sun is shining and the grass is growing…this particular weekend we were glad it wasn’t snowing. Otterbein graciously provided us with four of their horses to round out our horse teams, with Pedro, Cully, Lucas and Pete all in attendance.

 

The Otterbein horses arrived Friday afternoon.

The Otterbein horses arrived Friday afternoon.

Otterbein worked their horses in the ring Friday, giving Miami riders a chance to assess their potential draws before the show.

Otterbein worked their horses in the ring Friday, giving Miami riders a chance to assess their potential draws before the show.

The first day of the show, the RedHawks arrived at the barn before dawn to braid, groom, tack, and lunge horses. By the time the parade began, the sun had risen and the teams all watched their draw teams to decide which horses would be ridden by each rider.

Everyone loves a parade. Except for Thor.

Everyone loves a parade. 

Indy loved the parades.

Indy parades.

After a fierce day of competition, Miami came in a close second behind Otterbein. In the first level, Emily Gillespie had a lovely ride on Cully and Liesel Pfleger finished 3rd. The Upper Training level saw two RedHawks in the ribbons, with Spencer Clark coming in fourth on Uno and Kirsten Drew riding Miami’s Thor to a fantastic first place finish.

Kirsten Drew on Thor in her ten-minute warm up

Kirsten Drew on Thor in her ten-minute warm up

Spencer Clark riding Uno

Spencer Clark riding Uno

After lunch, the show continued apace with the Lower Training division. Three Miami riders competed, with Kobey Rogers and Amy Fleitz riding very well but Kathi Ropers stole second place with a precise test on Cody. Finally, the Intro level rounded out the day with Miami riders Tori Cooke and Katie Forrester. Katie drew Butch and rode a soft test to a second place finish, also receiving reserve high point ride of the day!

Dawn of day two brought promise and colder temperatures, but the riders fought through the weather to deliver beautiful tests. Liesel Pfleger and Emily Gillespie rode in First Level, both well ridden tests. Liesel went off test for a deduction of  points, but still managed to score 2nd place on Otterbein’s Pedro. Great job, Emily and Liesel!

Pedro and

Pedro and Liesel

 

In the Upper Training division, Miami was represented by Jeana-Rae Schaeper, Angie Farthing, and Devon Smith. Jeana-Rae drew Thor for a great ride, earning 4th place, and Devon drew Otterbein’s Pete and rode to a fantastic 1st place finish. Angie had a nice ride on Uno and came in 5th.

Devon Smith riding Pete

Devon Smith riding Pete

Thor with Jeana-Rae

Thor with Jeana-Rae

In the Lower Training, Natalie Davis drew Bailey and finished in 7th, while her teammate Lauren Lockhart rode Cody to 4th place. The day always comes down to Intro, with RedHawks Katie Forrester and Elizabeth Foster battling the other teams for points. Both riders had lovely tests, and Katie Forrester drew Butch for the second day in a row, earning another 2nd place and reserve high point ride for the day. Miami finished third altogether, which closed the dressage season with Miami as second place in the region. Congratulations to Coach Lindsey and to all the riders for such a hard-ridden season!

A great duo: Katie Forrester with Butch

A great duo: Katie Forrester with Butch

The dressage team was also supported by alumni, who came to work and hang out with the team. Emily Steiner, a 4-year veteran of the dressage team, ran the warm-up ring with as much precision as a Swiss watch. Thanks for your support, ladies!

Dressage Alums 3-23-14

MUET Dressage alums Caili Pierro, Laura Horodyski, Emily Steiner, Christine DeBrosse and Whitney Childs

Miami’s dressage team will be heading to Nationals this upcoming weekend, both as a team as well as individuals. Jeana-Rae Schaeper won the Upper Training division and will be showing as an individual, as well as Liesel Pfleger, who was second in the First Level in the region. Good luck to the RedHawks this weekend- we’ll see you at X!

Regionals Review: RedHawks Rout

Miami Equestrian had a great weekend at IHSA Regionals, with riders from the hunt seat and western teams competing at the Sid Griffiths Equestrian Center.

Allie Drost Jackie Yeager Regionals 2014

Allie Drost and Jackie Yeager at Regionals 2014

Starting the hunt seat team off with a solid performance, Jackie Yeager won Open Fences and took second to RedHawk Allie Drost in the Open Flat. Congratulations ladies! Charlotte Tate took the blue in Intermediate Flat and Dani Ross was victorious in Walk Trot Canter. All of these riders will move on as individuals to Zones at Lake Erie College on April 5th, where the Miami hunt seat team will also be competing for a slot at Nationals.

Miami brought six of our horses to the Sid Griffiths Equestrian Center- a long day for Heather and Beth!

Miami brought six of our horses to the Sid Griffiths Equestrian Center- a long day for Heather and Beth!

Helmet maker Samshield has recently become a sponsor of the IHSA, and all hunt seat regional winners received a new helmet from Samshield as part of their prize.  In addition Smartpak donated gift certificates to both hunt seat and western regional winners.

Coach Beth Akers shared that “the western team practiced the four “P’s” prior to the show: Patience, Preparation, Posture, and Postive Attitude. Their efforts were rewarded as each rider had a great ride and great pattern. I couldn’t have been more proud.” Congratulations, western team!  Beth says, “All rode extremely well. Rocked their patterns.”   In the novice Horsemanship, Megan Perry will represent Miami, and in the Intermediate Horsemanship, Sam Kershner will be competing at West Texas A&M Semi-Finals.

Horse cookies. Editor's note: no horses were harmed in the making of these sugary treats.

Horse cookies. Editor’s note: no horses were harmed in the making of these sugary treats.

Courtney Johnson earned the brass bottom award for schooling six horses, scribing, and being the ring steward all show.

Western Team Regionals

Other schoolers were Zach LeCompte and Katie Reed.  “Zach’s mom stepped it up a notch by making homemade horse cookies (looked like horses, not made of horse)” Beth clarified. Those cookies must have done the trick! Of course, Screech the Hat and Beth’s lucky swords were in attendance as well.

Joe was truly meant to be a jousting horse.

Joe was truly meant to be a jousting horse.

Congratulations to all the riders on a successful show season and Regionals show!

RedHawks Heading to Regionals

After a great show season for the western and the hunt seat teams, members of both teams will be showing at Regionals this weekend at Sid Griffith’s farm as individuals, with the possibility of showing at Zones(hunt seat) or Semi-Finals (western) and then potentially on to Nationals. In order to qualify for Regionals, an individual must garner enough points in their division to point out into the next division.

Regionals is a much different horse show than the ‘regular’ shows our teams attend because the premise is based on the individual, not on the team. Riders who have qualified for Regionals are showing for their own chance to advance, regardless of what happens with the teams as the shows progress. On the hunt seat side, it is common for the judges to ‘test’ the class, with riders being asked to drop their stirrups, execute maneuvers like a turn on the haunch, and sometimes judges will ask for riders to switch horses. In the western arena, each division will do rail work as well as an individual pattern appropriate for the division.

On the western team, Miami had nine riders qualify. Danielle Hume and Megan Krug will both show in the walk/jog, and Danielle told me ” I can’t wait to compete and have put a lot of hard work in to becoming better.” In the intermediate class, Sam Kershner, Melissa Petrick, Shannon LaGassa and Lisa Silvaggio will all compete for those top two slots. Only the top two riders in any division will continue on to the next event, which for the Western team is Western Semi-Finals at West Texas A&M. Rounding out the western riders are Brianna DeCamp, Megan Perry and Karen Faller, who will all compete in the Novice class. In the words of Danielle Hume, “our team has really come together this year with many talented riders. Our team is incredible to be a part of because we are so supportive of each other.” Karen Faller, a western team senior, caught up with me to share that  “showing this year has been fun….this semester in particular has been stressful because all out our shows are on back to back weekends. However, that being said Beth and all of the coaches have been great about offering extra riding times due to the cold and condensed nature of the shows!” Congratulations to all the western team qualifiers and we will be waiting with bated breath to hear how it goes!

Karen Faller

Karen Faller

The hunt seat team has a significant group heading to regionals as well, with fourteen riders attending. Jackie Yeager has qualified for Open Flat as well as Open Fences, and Allie Drost will be representing Miami in Open Flat and Intermediate Fences. In the Intermediate Flat, Meg Czerwonka, Kelsey Williamson, and Charlotte Tate will all be competing for their chance at Zones. Abby Postle qualified for Novice Fences and Novice Flat, and Alex Roe will also be showing in the Novice Fences.

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Allie Drost

Meg Czerwonka

Jackie Yeager

Meg Czerwonka

Meg Czerwonka

We have a large contingent showing in the Novice Flat, including team president Danielle Paulson. “Novice was a fun division because of the wide range of horses; drawing was always a surprise! My favorite horse from this year was Gnat at OSU. I rode him on both days of the show and he helped me learn that collection while riding and getting your horse round is essential to winning! We came in 3rd on Saturday and won on Sunday,” Danielle shared with me. “I’m so excited to head to Regionals this weekend! I’ve been showing in Intermediate this semester and can’t wait to go back to Novice and show with my fellow MUET’ers. I’m confident that MUET will take 1st and 2nd place in the Novice division and move on to Zones!”

Danielle with Miami horse Irish

Danielle with Miami horse Irish

Danielle has some competition at Regionals in the form of RedHawks Krysten Kasting, Abby Postle, Julia Prus, and Ashley Dowler. In an email with Ashley, she let me know that “as a freshman qualifying for regionals is far beyond my expectations. I love my coaches, they are the best motivators I’ve ever had. The team has been a great experience so far. Everybody has been so welcoming and friendly which is rare with a team this large. I’m looking forward to regionals and my next three years!”.

In the Walk/Trot/Canter division, Miami will be showing Danielle Ross and Rachel Flake. Emma Marcum pointed out of Walk/Trot this past weekend and scored a spot on the Regionals show team as well. Congratulations to all riders for a season of long rides, long drives, and good luck fruit. We will all be cheering you on from Oxford!

Miami horses: Unicon, Cody, Larry, Brandi, Joe, and Jellybean will also be competing at regionals as all the schools will bring horses.  It will be a combined regional effort for both disciplines.

Here at home, we are preparing for the dressage home show next weekend, which hopefully will clinch the dressage team’s spot for IDA Nationals this year. Stay tuned!

Back in Columbus: Miami Western Team at OSU

The weather has finally broken and horses and riders couldn’t be more thrilled! This weekend, the western team showed in another double header at OSU, their final show of the normal season before Regionals. Competition was stiff, with longstanding rivals Ohio State, Ohio University, and Wilmington all in attendance.

Captain Dana Rossman was happy to share that ‘we had sunshine!” which is the first time in a long time! Yay! The team had lots of support present, including plenty of family and friends. The LeCompte family again provided cookies for the team to munch on- thank you!

Team Snacks OSU 3-9

Cookies make every show better.

Miami brought home several blues, with Megan Krug, Courtney Johnson’ & Brianna DeCamp all in first. Megan Perry finished with two thirds, which pointed her out of Novice and into Advanced.

Natalie Montecalvo, Shannon LaGassa, and Brianna DeCamp

Natalie Montecalvo, Shannon LaGassa, and Brianna DeCamp

Ohio State honored all seniors for their years of participation in the IHSA, with seniors Katie Reed, Karen Faller, Kaeden Kass and Chrissy Barrow all recognized for their final appearances in the ring as Miami University undergrad riders. Senior Katie Reed told me, “this show was a fantastic finish to my years showing on Miami’s Western team! Everyone on the team was supportive of one another and the beautiful day made the experience that much better! I will definitely miss shows like this one next year!”. We’ll miss all the seniors next year.

Honored Seniors

Honored Seniors

There was a bit of excitement when “Megan Perry had a spur mishap that required two IHSA riders, Beth and Ohio State’s coach’s help to fix (had to take her boot off while she was on the horse and then put it back on so she could go in because her class was starting).” Way to hang in there, Megan!

Serious spur situation

Serious spur situation

At the end of the day, Miami came home third place in the first show and rallied for Reserve Champion Team  in the second show. My guess is Beth’s ‘Screech’ hat had something to do with their success….

Warm AND fashionable!

Warm AND fashionable!

To all the western riders heading to Regionals, we wish you every success. Congratulations to the entire western team on a great show season, finishing Reserve Champions of the region!

The western team at OSU enjoying the blue skies

The western team at OSU enjoying the blue skies

MUET: March Madness

The Miami Equestrian team had a heck of a weekend March 1st and 2nd, with all three teams traveling to horse shows. The RedHawks showed well in every arena, with the dressage team taking 3rd at Midway, the western team coming in 2nd for both of their horse shows, and the hunt seat team dominating both shows with first place both days. Whew! What a whirlwind.

Otterbein 3-2 1

Winter storm Titan was threatening each team during the weekend. Dressage team captain Lauren Lockhart explained ““Titan” was a concern for traveling back but it was raining and sleeting only for a few moments during our travel so we made it back safely!” Thank goodness. Western captain Dana Rossman was proud of the western team for braving the winter storm, showing with freezing temps and chattering teeth. Jessi Thorne of the hunt seat team indicated that “the weathermen predicted the storm of the year to hit Columbus early Saturday morning with up to 11 inches of snow. We weren’t sure if we would be able to get home Sunday night, but we ended up with barely any snow and a less than eventful bus ride home.” It sounds like Titan was a letdown, but the riding was definitely up to par.

The dressage team was showing at Midway College, with two teams of riders plus an extra ride on a ‘scramble’ team, made up of riders from multiple schools. Showing against fierce competitors from Otterbein, the University of Kentucky, Midway, and Wooster, Miami came in 3rd place by only 1 point. Emily Gillespie came in 2nd in the First Level with a high score of 71.03 (she lost first to Amelie Hordrum of UK with a 72.06%, the high point ride of the day). RedHawk Jeana Rae Schaeper took first in the Upper Training, and Kelsey Poleyeff took 2nd in the Lower Training. It was a competitive field this past Sunday- congratulations to the whole dressage team on a great show!

Midway 3-2

Over at Autumn Rose Farm, Ohio State’s equestrian complex, the western team put up a great team for their double header. Zach LeCompte competed for the first time this weekend in Walk Jog. Karen Faller pointed up into Advanced (& qualified for Regionals). Melissa Petrick also pointed up into Novice (& qualified for Regionals). Great job, western team!

Dana Rossman at OSU

Dana Rossman

OSU 3-2 2

Danielle Hume

For the hunt seat team, this was the final horse show of the regular show season. Coaches Heather and Lori took the team straight to the top, winning both days and solidifying Miami as the regional winner in the hunt seat this year, by a stunning 47 points. There were lots of blue ribbons both days;  Rachel McConnell (novice over fences)  Jackie Yeager (open over fences,) Rachel Flake, Taylor Myers, Sydney Lewis, Kaitlin Elliott all on the flat as well as Carita Haverlock, Madison Enderson, and Kylie Fleming. Awesome job RedHawks!

Otterbein 3-2

Emma Marcum 

Otterbein hosts the final hunt seat show of the regular show season every year, and they traditionally honor all the graduating seniors. This year each senior was honored and was presented with a rose and good luck horseshoe keychain. Sadly, Otterbein lost a cherished member of their herd recently. Moose was a horse that all the students in the region had come to know and love, and Otterbein also held a special memorial in his honor this weekend. MUET sends our deepest condolences, and we know Moose is cantering over the Rainbow Bridge.

Of course, what’s a horse show without great snacks? At the western show, the delicious chocolate chip cookies provided by the LeCompte family; at the dressage show, the Farthings sent along cookies as well, and the hunt seat team was spoiled with “delicious meatballs & baked ham along with a bunch of baked goods that other team members & families also contributed”. “A huge thank you to the Kastings, Myers and Paulsons for the amazing food they’ve provided for the hunt seat team this season! We’ve been absolutely spoiled.” – Abby Postle (Treasurer)

The dressage team huddling for warmth at Midway

The dressage team huddling for warmth at Midway

Both the dressage team and the western team had alumni in attendance. “We stopped in Georgetown on our way down to have dinner with dressage alumni, Emily Steiner, at a hibachi grill. This was a really fun experience with the entertainment of having vegetables being thrown at us while we ate,” Lauren Lockhart shared. Alumni Mary Forster was at Autumn Rose, to ride in the Alumni Classes and help out with multiple things throughout the day. Mary locked in a 1st place- no surprise to those of us who remember Mary’s show career here at MUET!

Each team has their own good luck charms and rituals, but the fruit basket of the hunt seat team continues to grow. This weekend, lucky charms “Steve the orange” and “Jose the apple” joined forces with another lucky banana to send the team to victory. Rumor has it head coach Heather Pinnick could also be seen sporting a mustache around the ring. Meanwhile, at Autumn Rose, Beth pulled out her lucky earrings to send the western team to a solid 2nd place finish.

Good luck charms

The dressage team didn’t have a lucky charm, but they did have some luck. “Emily Gillespie’s zipper on her tall boot broke so the whole team chipped in last minute to find her a pair to wear just minutes before she had to get on the horse,” Lauren told me. Phew! Nothing like a close call on your way in the ring. Perhaps it was those borrowed boots that sent Emily to her 2nd place finish in First Level. The final regional dressage show is our home show, coming up in March- the team is still in the lead to head to Nationals this year.

The weekend came to a less-than-dramatic close when winter storm Titan came in like a lamb; the teams all arrived home safely and we are looking forward to next weekend, with another western double header at OSU. Stay tuned!

Roving Reporter: Meet the Author

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Faithful MUET blog readers, it is past time for an introduction. My name is Angela Baylis and I have taken over blogging duties from Jenn Gunther, who has moved on to a great full time teaching position (congratulations, Jenn!). I am a Miami alum- but more importantly, an MUET alum, and an instructor here at the farm. It’s my pleasure to bring you all the exciting happenings straight from the horse’s mouth. Ha! But really. I consider myself a rogue Horse and Hound reporter, noting details and fun facts for your reading enjoyment. I look forward to keeping all of MUET’s devoted fans updated as the season progresses.

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Cheers!

Angela

Hunt Seat at Ohio University: MUET Freezes Competition Sunday

This past weekend the hunt seat team bundled up to head to Stonegate Farm, Ohio University’s equestrian facility, in their first horse show of 2014. Fortunately, all the off site riding has kept their skills tip-top and the double header show was a great success for the Redhawks. Coaches Lori and Heather brought their best good luck in the form of a special ‘lucky banana’- the first fruit ever to ensure a win for MUET. In the words of head coach Heather Pinnick, “We needed a prop for Sunday, but rode the bus so didn’t have a car to go to the store. We each had a banana from breakfast. There was happy banana, sad banana, chest bump banana, and then everyone got their boot rubbed with the bananas.” Who says lucky charms have to fit preconceived notions? The bananas worked: MUET took home the win on Sunday by a landslide 44 points.

1st Place Prize

On Saturday, the fierce MUET riders tied for Reserve High Point Team  with some excellent riding including debut rides for some team members. Kelsey Williamson, a veteran Redhawk, showed in her first Open Flat class and earned second place. We brought home lots of blue ribbons on the flat Saturday, including riders Emma Marcum, Terra Organisciak, Ashley Dowler, Sydney Walsh, Kayla Akers, and Stefani Manchick (congratulations ladies!).

There's always time for homework between excellent equitation.

There’s always time for homework between excellent equitation.

In the words of team captain Jessi Thorne, “we dominated Novice Fences both days!” with wins from Abby Postle, Rachel McConnell, Taylor Myers, Ashley Dowler and Alex Roe (won her class Saturday and Sunday).

Ashley Dowler

Ashley Dowler

Alex Roe?

Taylor Swan

In the cross rail division  MUET delivered multiple victories.  Sydney Walsh, MUET President Danielle Paulson (won her section both days), Taylor Swan, and Allie Stuckey all won their respective sections. Watch out, Zone 6: we’re heating up in the jumping classes!

Team President Danielle Paulson

Team President Danielle Paulson

MUET Vice President Allie Drost was High Point Rider on Sunday with a win in Open Flat & a second in Open Fences- congratulations Allie! Jackie Yeager also delivered a strong showing Sunday with a win in Open Fences. Flat classes went smoothly for the Redhawks Sunday, with wins brought home by Madison Enderson, Rachel McConnell, Krysten Kasting, Ellie Paulsen, Helena Kervinen, and Rachel Flake.

Allie Drost

Allie Drost

Jackie Yeager

Jackie Yeager

Winning a horse show is a team effort, and everyone from the walk-trotters to the open riders play a large role. Congratulations to Heather and the whole hunt seat team on another red hot win.

Congrats on a blue ribbon in Walk-Trot, Emma!

Congrats on a blue ribbon in Walk-Trot, Emma!

Stephen George took second in his Walk-Trot class. Way to go, Stephen!

Stephen George took second in his Walk-Trot class. Way to go, Stephen!

All three teams are showing this weekend (a logistical feat of epic proportions!) and if the OU show is any indication, MUET is on the trail to more victories. Winter? We didn’t even notice.

Polar Vortex Doesn’t Freeze MUET Spirit

It has been a long, cold winter here in Oxford (and all over the Midwest) , which has certainly presented its challenges here at the farm. The coaching staff and horses aren’t content to let the winter keep us down- lessons have continued apace at two off site facilities. Students have been able to stay in regular lessons as we move towards the busy spring competition season.

Hunt Seat Lesson

Of course, all of us are looking forward to being back under one roof- let’s all think spring!

Cody gets some love

Cody gets some love

Coach Lindsey is especially looking forward to returning to Miami's barn

Coach Lindsey is especially looking forward to returning to Miami’s barn.

RedHawk Jackie Yeager Flies High at WEF

The Winter Equestrian Festival Collegiate Equitation Challenge is an event held annually during the fifth week of the WEF in sunny Palm Beach, Florida. Sixteen collegiate equestrians are invited to compete in a bracket-style head to head competition over fences not to exceed 3’6″.

WEF group

The whole group of sixteen talented collegiate riders invited to the WEF this year.

Two students will ride one horse, and whichever student has the better round on that horse will advance to the next bracket. All horses and tack are lent to the event by local professionals and are unfamiliar to the students. However, the students have four minutes prior to each round to warm up with their horse, including the opportunity to jump four fences before going in the show ring.

This February, MUET member Jackie Yeager was invited to participate in the WEF competition. Jackie and coach Heather Pinnick headed down to Florida to take on fifteen riders from great programs all over the country. I caught up with Jackie to ask about her experience.

“Since I have previously gone to a few NCEA scrimmages with the team before, I knew the format and knew that I liked how they run things. I really like how each rider is paired with another on the same horse. It seems to make things more fair and the four minutes of warm-up before you go into the ring really allows you to get a feel of the horse before being judged,” Jackie explained. Having the opportunity to warm up before your ride is a luxury that most IHSA riders don’t have, so just those few minutes can give an extra edge to the competitors.

Jackie looks very relieved to see the sunshine!

Jackie looks very relieved to see the sunshine!

When asked about her riding experience, Jackie shared that “during the first round, I was paired with Sam Schaefer (Baylor) who is an incredible rider. I went first out of the two of us on a chestnut jumper named Fitch and scored a 75 due to some lead change issues we hadn’t quite smoothed out yet. Next, Sam scored a 92, so unfortunately I did not move on, but being able to stay and watch all the way until the final round was really cool.”  Jackie had a very nice round with Fitch and coach Heather was standing by the sidelines cheering her on every step of the way.

Jackie with Fitch

Jackie mounted on Fitch, her draw for the WEF ride.

It sounds like it was a great learning experience for Jackie. All the horses are beautiful, professional show horses which makes it exciting to stay and watch the rounds.

Congratulations to Jackie on your first WEF invitational ride and to Heather on another great Florida trip! Things are warming up here in Oxford so we are hoping to see some of that great equitation here at our home barn soon.

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